Monday, July 16, 2001

Matson Navigation
sells 2 harbor tugs

By Russ Lynch

Matson Navigation Co. said today it has sold two harbor tugs on the neighbor islands to Hawaiian Tug & Barge. The price was not disclosed.

The transfer of the tugs, scheduled to take place Wednesday, will not affect Matson's cargo handling in the islands, said a company spokesman in San Francisco, Jeff Hull.

The tugs, the Joe Sevier in Kahului and the Maoi in Hilo Harbor, were put into service at Kahului and Hilo in 1969 to provide general commercial towing assistance in those harbors, Matson said. They have mostly been used to assist cruise vessels.

HTB, which hauls Young Brothers Ltd. barges among the islands and also provides general harbor and long-distance ocean towing services, said the acquisition fits with its business.

"Hawaiian Tug and Barge is dedicated to providing ship-assist capabilities throughout the State of Hawaii," said Glenn Hong, president of HTB. He said his company plans to station a new tug at Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai, by the end of this year. Having the former Matson tugs will allow HTB to station tugs at all the major islands, Hong said.

The sale consists of the assets of a Matson subsidiary, Matson Services Co. Bal Dreyfus, Matson Navigation's area manager, Hawaii and Guam, said Matson Services was set up more than 30 years ago to provide improved harbor-assistance services for the neighbor islands. "Today, the tug business is no longer a strategic fit for Matson," Dreyfus said.

The tug business, Matson Services, has no employees of its own and uses crews provided under contract by other companies. They will be offered positions at HTB, Hull said.

Matson is a subsidiary of Honolulu-headquartered Alexander & Baldwin Inc. HTB and Young Bros. are owned by Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources Inc., which bought the companies from Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. in 1999.

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